A LONG lost friend is dining at Chez Meetandtwoveg tonight and I am taking inspiration for the menu from Nigella Express - which is being repeated on BBC Two every Monday night.
It's not so much that this is a last minute arrangement, but more a case of me wanting to chinwag with my pal, instead of being surgically attached to the stove.
I have decided that I can wow her with my culinary expertise (!) in the future, so have opted for a simple and healthy two-course supper.
Since the phrases 'healthy' and 'Nigella' are rarely seen out together, I've used her philosophy for an express menu - rather than her recipes.
So for main course I'm doing a tried and tested Tandoori chicken salad with a mango dressing from Delicious magazine.
It's a great main course salad as it teams peppery rocket and watercress, with spicy marinated chicken, and sweet mango sauce. Julienned cucumber and a sprinkling of toasted whole almonds are added for crunch.
For pud I've trialled a new product for my take on a healthier Pavlova.
As well as ditching the double cream in favour of zero fat Greek yogurt, I've used Zsweet in my meringue mixture, rather than traditional caster sugar.
Zsweet is an American zero calorie sugar substitute, which unlike all others on the market is completely natural - so doesn't contain any hidden nasties.
Even better is the fact that you can use it the same way you do sugar. Measuring out sugar substitutes for cooking purposes always causes me brain ache, but with Zsweet I was able to use 50g of it in place of the usual 50g of caster sugar.
The individual meringues, which also contained an egg white and a quarter of a teaspoon each of white wine vinegar and cornflour, looked perfect when I took them from the oven.
I'll top them with Greek yogurt, mixed berries and a drizzle of honey just before she arrives and hopefully they'll look pretty special.
As for the taste, the proof will be in the pudding....